Argentina rains give corn a boost; wheat market closes lower
Beans closed mixed, up a little nearby and down a little further forward. The nears were supported by huge weekly export inspections of almost 74 million bushels. That far outstripped market expectations of 50-58 million. Where are all the anticipated Chinese cancellations? Recall that as of last week the US had already sold 104% of the USDA's target for the season and shipped 69% of it. The USDA also announced 183,000 MT of US beans sold to unknown for 2014/15 shipment. The spectre of a monster South American crop still weighs on the further forward positions, as too does ideas that US growers will "go large" with soybean plantings this spring and potentially also produce a record crop of their own.
Santos-based shipping agents SA Commodities said that Brazil has 650 TMT of soybeans ready to ship this week, along with an export schedule of around 2.5 MMT in February. Last February they shipped less than 1 MMT. Safras e Mercado said that the Brazilian bean crop is 3% harvested, similar to a year ago. They estimated the Brazilian bean crop at a record 91.8 MMT (and almost 3 MMT more than the USDA's current forecast), and pegged bean exports at 46.0 MMT. In Brazil's top producing state of Mato Grosso the bean harvest is said to be 5.8% complete. The plummeting value of the Argentine peso means that Argentine farmers are supposedly still holding 8.4 MMT of old crop soybeans - 5 times the volume of a year ago. Lanworth estimated the 2014 US soybean crop at a record 96.5 MMT, up 7 MMT on last year. Ag Canada estimated the 2014 soybean crop there at 4.9 MMT versus 5.2 MMT last year. They see the 2014 canola crop at 16.0 MMT versus 18.0 MMT last year despite a 0.7 million hectare rise in plantings to 8.7 million. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $12.87 3/4, up 3 cents; May 14 Soybeans closed at $12.71, up 1 cent; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $430.90, up $5.20; Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 37.06, down 48 points and a new 3 1/2 year low for a front month.
The corn market closed a couple of cents firmer. Weekly export inspections of 28.701 million bushels weren't as impressive as those for beans, but were at the top end of the expected 23-28 million. Also adding a bit of support was the news that the USDA announced 119,888 MT of US corn sold to unknown for 2013/14 shipment.
As the Brazilian soybean harvest gathers pace, "safrinha" corn plantings in Mato Grosso are said to be 3.8% complete versus 2.8% a year ago. Ag Canada estimated the 2014 corn crop there at 13.1 MMT versus last year's crop of 14.2 MMT. Lanworth forecast the 2014 US corn crop at 358 MMT, a surprising 4 MMT rise on last year. They see Chinese production in 2014 at 221.84 MMT. APK Inform said that Ukraine had shipped 674 TMT of grains in the week through to Jan 26, and 95% of that total - 643 TMT - was corn. Algeria were said to have bought 20,000 MT of Ukrainian corn for March shipment. Russia were said to have exported 218 TMT of corn in the Jan 1-19 timeframe. Argentine weather has improved, with rains over the weekend and more in the forecast for this week. "Argentina crops got a lift from strong showers last week, but damage was incurred by heat and moisture stress previously. Drenching rains in Argentina last week gave corn and soybeans a welcome boost where rainfall was heavy, exceeding 2 inches. Eastern Argentina benefited most from heavy soaking rains. The western farm belt received localised heavy rainfall also. Drought was not entirely quenched in Cordoba and western Buenos Aires," said Martell Crop Projections. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.31 3/4, up 2 1/4 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.38, up 2 cents.
The wheat market closed lower as weekly export inspections of only 14.037 million bushels disappointed and fell at the low end of the expected 14-19 million. Saudi Arabia bought 715 TMT of mostly hard wheat over the weekend. Approved origins included US wheat, but were non-specific. India said that farmers there had planted a record 31.48 million acres of short-cycle wheat for the 2014 harvest that is due to begin only two months from now. That's a sharp 6.3% rise on last year when wheat production was 92.4 MMT. No wonder then that they are forecasting a record 100 MMT crop this year. Weather conditions in India are said to be good, with plenty of rain in the major producing areas in the north west. Russia said that they'd exported 639 TMT of grains in the Jan 1-19 period, of which 381 TMT was wheat.
Total Russian grain exports in 2013/14 so far are now in excess of 17 MMT, a 31.6% rise on a year ago when full season exports only amounted to 15.69 MMT. Canada said that they'd exported almost 312 TMT of wheat in the week through to Jan 19, taking the marketing year to date total to just over 9 MMT versus 8.2 MMT a year ago. Ag Canada forecast the 2014 all wheat crop there at 29.7 MMT versus the record 2013 crop of 37.5 MMT. They see 2014/15 wheat exports increasing however to 22.2 MMT versus 2013/14 exports of 21.9 MMT. The UN bought 19,000 MT of Ukrainian wheat for Djibouti for Feb shipment. Lanworth forecast the 2014 EU all wheat crop at 146.7 MMT, with production in Ukraine at just over 22 MMT and Chinese output at 122.7 MMT. There's still speculation that another US deep freeze may cause some winterkill problems for wheat in the Midwest and Plains. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.63 1/2, down 1 3/4 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.22 1/2, down 4 3/4 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.06 1/2, down 6 1/2 cents.
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